Quintessential English hero finally arrives north of the border
This article is from 2008.
Millennium Fever took hold at the end of the last century, with some people anticipating the end of the world and others a fresh start. But after two world wars, the demise of the British Empire, and dizzying technological advances, England seemed to be struggling to find its place in the world.
‘There had been a lot of excitement about devolution and a kind of cultural renaissance going on in other parts of the UK,’ says Justin Butcher, writer of Scaramouche Jones. ‘I toyed with creating a piece of quintessentially English storytelling and what that would feel like.’
The son of a Trinidadian gypsy and an Englishman, Butcher’s eponymous hero spends his life on a quest to find his father. ‘There’s something therapeutic about it,’ says Butcher. ‘This is an old man’s confession, it’s the last hour of his life, and the century. I’m inviting people to consider the arc of a human life, and how meaning emerges with time.’
Over eight years of performances, the play has been taken across the world, but this is its first outing at the Fringe. ‘Unusual theatre sprouts from every orifice at the Fringe, so it’s the ultimate challenge,’ he says. ‘It feels a bit like jumping off a high diving board.’
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, 2–25 Aug (not 11), 12.20pm, £12–£13 (£10–£12). Previews 31 Jul & 1 Aug, £8.